Thursday, September 27, 2007

The results are in! And the winner is...

...not up to me! It's up to you. I did take out both the Diana+ and my Snappy (Diana clone) cameras today. I wanted to take actual photos, like "art", as opposed to just random snapshots, like we've seen before on flickr. This is what Lomography is all about, so whatever. But I wanted to shoot like I would normally, instead of just wasting film to hurry up and see what the new camera shoots. So I went up to New River, which is out of the city, but not so far that I have to drive more than 20 miles. And it's out in the desert...and there are lots of interesting things to shoot around the area (until the day Anthem takes over everything). I used about half of each roll to take the same shot with both cameras, with the same settings and focus on each camera. My Snappy doesn't have an aperture plate anymore, so I just left the Diana+ on cloudy (all the way open), even though it was sunny. Never seems to make a difference, anyway. I used Fortepan 100 (one of my favorite films - has a nice tonal range and good contrast) and developed both rolls at the same time in 1:1 D-76. I used the 42x42 mask, so the shots are the same size as the Diana. I'm cleaning the dust and cat hair off the scans, of course, but no sepia...just straight black and white. So they should be as close as possible to each other - only the camera differences should be apparent. I'm actually scanning the Diana+ negs right now while I'm typing, so this is an interactive experience! What do I see so far? You want to know the truth? I really, REALLY like what I f*cking see. Sorry Lomography haters, but this camera rocks. I'll type some more while I scan. When I first hung each roll, I couldn't tell them apart. I had to look really close to figure out which was which, and I identified the Diana+ by the sharper corners. From a foot away, I was like, wait, that's the Snappy...no, wait, that's the Snappy. Scanning them, I can see the differences, which we will see in a minute...but they look really good. I know, you probably aren't even reading this...you just skipped ahead to the photos. I'll have eight comparison photos here eventually. Right here.

Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy


Diana+


Snappy



Look pretty good? Differences? Well...I never thought it would happen, but my Snappy shots are actually sharper than the Diana+. Particularly when focusing close up. The Snappy's focus is a bit softer, while the blur on the Diana+ seems to actually double, with slight multiple lines along the edges of things...like the Snappy is romantic and the Diana+ is psychedelic. There is more detail in the Diana+ blur, while the Snappy loses detail...it's just "grayer". The Diana+ has a sharper blur. Dunno how many other ways I can say that. But you can see for yourself. I guess it's the difference between accidental blur (the Snappy) versus intentional blur (Diana+). The original Diana was just made cheap, probably with little quality control. The Diana+ lens was engineered to look crappy. The Snappy has more vignette than the Diana+. The Diana+ seems to rely more on blur. I'd imagine that taking out the mask would increase the vignette. And the most obvious difference is the odd "square" along the edges of the Diana+. A slight warp. I don't particularly like this, but I don't hate it either. With the mask out, though, it's going to be this square on all your shots a third of the way in from the edge. What causes this? No ideas. Must be something to do with the shape of the opening (it's round with corners instead of round). I guess. And the actual edges? As I ALWAYS include the edge, because, for me, that's part of the toy camera. It's not as bad as I expected! It looks so much straighter...and it is. But it still is a bit wobbly. I see a slight indentation on the sides, from manufacturing, I guess. The corners are sharper on the Diana+, which is how I identified the negatives. And the Snappy, it kind of glows along the inside edge as the image falls off, from reflection on the plastic edge, I assume. Oh, and the Diana+ does a pretty good job at scratching up the film...more so than the Snappy. But the plastic is harder and not as smooth as the snappy. And there is lots of dust and grit here that could have gotten in the camera, as all of the shots aren't lined.
One other difference, that's really only apparent when you put one scan next to another, the Diana+ shot is somewhat smaller than the Snappy shot. Maybe by a centimeter. I was wondering why there was more space between shots with the Diana+.
I did try the pinhole function. I was wrong when I said the book doesn't have suggested exposure times. It said 1-2 seconds for full sun. I did that...actually for five seconds in full sun. Nothing. Way underexposed, I guess, as I got nothing at all. I'll have to check to be sure there is even a hole, as the pinhole is plastic. Or just experiment more.
Now how did it compare when using the two? One thing I didn't notice until I started shooting - the focus distances are different. On the Snappy (and Diana, of course), the settings are 4-6 FT, 6-12 FT and 12 FT-INF. On the Diana+, it's 1-2 M, 2-4 M and 4 M-INF (oh...duh, thought it was feet when I was out shooting). So it's close, but a little different. I was glad for the strap, too, because I was afraid of beating up my new camera. That's why I don't like shiny, unused Dianas, because I know I'll just mess 'em up. The Diana+ sounds different when you fire the shutter - almost like it's not firing. The clicky film winder sounds different, too. Not bad, just a different sound...louder.
I tried to line up my shots as close as possible (with a winding break between cameras so I didn't forget to advance the film). What you see through the viewfinder is slightly different between cameras. Besides being incredibly sharp and clear in the Diana+ viewfinder...it just doesn't line up exactly like the Snappy. Though it has the same tendency to show more "up", while the lens shows more "down". As in it shows more dirt on your neg than what you expected and cuts off the sky.
So...who is the winner? Okay, while the Diana+ is great and all...it's not the winner. I love my Snappy and nothing will replace it...but it's not the winner, either. So...I'm the winner! Because now I have two great cameras! It's not about one replacing the other. I'm glad the Diana+ takes cool shots...and I'm glad it is different than my Snappy and Diana, because now I just have another choice!
It's ALL good.

9 comments:

  1. Great comparison and great pictures as always! I too have found the winding system not working smoothly. Sometime it feels like the winding spool go out of place! To put the winding spool in the right position, i’ve got to press on the bottom and top of the camera while winding, and this way seemed to go far better.

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  2. Thanks so much for this.

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  3. I came home this evening to a package on my stoop from Lomo! I am new to the toy camera scene and now own a Holga and Diana+ within the span of a week. This weekend shall be interesting. You might do a search for diana plus on Ebay, the last time I checked there was one selling for over $100. Who knows why? I just wanted to thank you for your website - I am hunting down resources for my new habit and very much enjoyed your passion for these crazy little cameras.

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  4. There is a difference in the pictures but I can’t tell which one I prefer. It seems that the biggest difference is in the bokeh. Out of focus areas are a bit smoother and a little more pleasing in the Snappy shots.

    I think they are both great and I’m very tempted to buy a Diana+ even though I have the original.

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  5. Ha! The posts on flickr and the blog comparison resulted in a feature on the lomography site... The hits'll start piling up I imagine.

    Nice
    neekatnite

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  6. What is a Snappy and where can I get information about or buy one?

    frankwatson@hotmail.com


    Frank

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  7. I actually prefer the Snappy. Some things just can't be replaced. :)

    Anyhoo, just like your personal opinion on this: Holga Vs Diana?

    (I would wanna buy both, but cash is a bit of a problem :))

    You can email me at thismarlasinger@hotmail.com.

    Cheers!

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  8. My credit card provider thanks you - I bought a Snappy last week as a result of this post and the short discussion we had on flickr.

    My opinion? The Snappy feels much more solid and better built. However, my LSI Diana doesn't leak at all, whereas my Snappy has a few light leaks here and there.

    Miku hit the nail on the head - the Snappy has much smoother blur and definitely more pleasing. Additionally the Snappy seems to have wider apertures that means I can use 100 film in the Australian sunlight as opposed to the 400 that the LSI Diana requires.

    Oh, and the vignette is much more natural in the Snappy.

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  9. Perfecting how to take professional pictures requires a lot of knowledge and practice. There are many little things that go into turning out a professional looking picture. To begin with, you have to get a good camera that is suited for the type of photography that you’re interested in. You should decide whether you will be taking mostly still photos, action or both. urban photographers for example look at street scenes and take pictures to portray their interpretation of those scenes.

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